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Wildfire Mitigation Is Leadership Park City's Project For 2019

Leadership Park City’s 25th class has selected their project for the year.

Leadership Class member David Kottler introduces this year’s project.

“A wildfire preparedness and mitigation project,” Kottler continued. “We felt like this is an issue that we've seen it in California, we've seen it in the local news and we as a class felt like maybe there's something we can do to help out.”

Fellow leadership class member Jennifer Gardner said Summit County Councilmember Glenn Wright planted the seed for the idea. The group then began gathering materials and meeting with professionals to prepare for the presentation to fellow leadership class members.

“It was just decided a couple weeks ago out of seven great topics,” Gardner explained. “It's definitely a simmering issue, no pun intended. We’re in the early stages though we've done a lot of advance, I would say, discovery and meetings with the appropriate people in charge. Before we even did the proposal, we actually did homework.”

Kottler says they broke the project into different components, the first one being education.

“We are starting with an education effort focusing on the individual homeowner explaining what is defensible space,” Kottler said. “How can you accomplish that at your own house? Conveying to the community that it's not as scary as a lot of people think it is. It doesn't mean necessarily clearing all vegetation 60 feet away from your house or anything like that. There are many interim steps that people can take so we want to educate the public about what they can do. We're probably going to be doing that through a lot of the HOA's as well as community events like the Park Silly Market, farmers market.”

Another part of the project is an event that will help homeowners implement what is being taught.

“We have talked about the possibility of setting up a voluntary lot assessment program where people can have an expert come in and look at their house,” Kottler continued. “Tell them specifically what they can do. We've also looked at other possibilities such as a cleanup effort helping people remove dead wood or vegetation that is not necessarily fire resistant. Replacing that with fire resistant vegetation. There's lots of different opportunities that were looking at but it hasn't been fully fleshed out.”

The event is likely to take place in early fall. Gardner explains how they’ll measure the success of their project.

“We’re all on the wildland urban interface anywhere in Summit and Wasatch County,” Gardner explained. “I'd say number of participants lots or structures that do this, as well as the number of appointments made for the professional assessors. Maybe attendance at the next emergency preparedness meeting, just numbers honestly. I hope that it continues year after year, because last year was a fairly quiet year. Relatively our area was pretty lucky.”

2019 is Leadership Park City’s 25th year.

KPCW reporter David Boyle covers all things in the Heber Valley as well as sports and breaking news.
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